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SERMON IX.

THE FOUNTAIN OF LIFE.

JOHN VII. 37.

In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus

stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink.

Tue blessed Jesus was ever employed in doing good. To save the souls of men was the benevolent

purpose for which he came into our world, and which he continually prosecuted during the whole of his ministry. Love to our ruined race prompted him to leave the bosom of his father, to empty himself of his glory, to become a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. With all the tenderness of faultless bumanity, he sympathized with

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even the bodily distresses of those whom he came to redeem, and lent a willing hand to their relief. But on their spiritual miseries his thoughts were principally set. Of these he saw perfectly the deadly nature and the alarming extent. To these he called perpetually the attention of men; for these he proclaimed himself a sovereign Physician, and offered freely his almighty aid. In this labor of love his life was spent.

He omitted no opportunity of exercising it, and the same principle which animated all his kind and gracious actions now leads him to Jerusalem at the feast of tabernacles.

This feast, which God ordained to commemorate the travels of his people in the wilderness, where they dwelt in tents or tabernacles, was one of the three solemn occasions on which all the males of Israel were obliged to appear before God at Jerusalem. Accordingly vast multitudes resorted thither from every part of the land. The city, and especially the temple, was thronged. On the eighth, which was the last and greatest day of the feast, “it was customary for the priests to surround the altar with their palm-branches, and to pour out water in the temple, as an expression of the general desire of the Messiah's appearance, and the pouring forth of the Spirit by him.” The Redeemer seized this occasion of claiming publicly the honors of his character, and inviting the Jews

to faith in his name. He ascends a small eminence from which he might command a view of the people, and be himself both seen and heard. How august the scene! Was there ever such an assembly and such a minister! The incarnate God preaches to the tribes of Israel! How awful and venerable his aspect! What majesty and love beam from his countenance ! What grace flows from his lips! Be still every tumult! be hushed every unhallowed passion! be collected all wandering thoughts, while the Saviour speaks ! “Look,” says he, “from ordinances to the God of ordinances—from the symbol to the thing signified. Behold in me the accomplishment of the prophetic promise, The Lord whom ye seek, shall come into his temple suddenly, even the Angel of the covenant whom ye delight in. Are you longing for the Messiah promised to the fathers ? I that speak unto you am he. Do'your thirsty souls need to be re'freshed by the waters of the sanctuary? I am the Fountain of life. If any man thirst let him come unto me and drink.Happy nation! had they known their privileges when the Lord of the temple was present in the temple and explained his own institutions ! But we must not confine to the Jews the Sa

To all who enjoy the gospel he offers the same invitation. To us he cries, and we are warned not to turn away from him that

viour's grace.

speaketh froin heaven; to every one of us he cries, If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink?

How rich, how free, how adorable his grace is, will appear from considering the persons invited, and the invitation itself.

I. Let us attend to the persons invited. They are the thirsty.

No man can be so senseless as to imagine that the Redeemer speaks of a bodily thirst. He is addressing sinners on the things which belong to their eternal peace, and as that great Prophet whom the Lord God had promised to raise up in the midst of Israel. The meaning of his language must, therefore, correspond with the importance of his object, and the dignity of his character. His words undoubtedly relate to the state of men’s souls, and suppose that there is in the minds of those with whom he is dealing, an uneasiness and anxiety analogous to that painful sensation which arises from extreme thirst. The strong terms in which this state of mind is characterized, have induced the current opinion, an opinion adopted indeed, though very negligently, by even great and good men, that the Lord Jesus here invites none but such as are thirsting after an interest in his everlasting righteousness. How many of those who, driven from every other hope, were endeav. . oring to fix their trembling cye upon the Redeemer's atonement, have heard, as a sentence

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